In Travel

Winter Olympians On How To Get Ski-Fit Over Summer

For the Australian Winter Olympic team, it’s not a dream but a way of life. We ask three skilled Olympians what it’s like to follow the winter, and how they stay snow-fit year-round.

For many Aussie snow bunnies, a love of travel means a love of following the winter snow year-round. From the ski slopes of Japan in February to Thredbo and Perisher in July, and Canada in December, the lure of fresh powder can be just too strong to resist. Winter olympians chase the powder year round. 

For the Australian Olympic Team, who will be competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea this February, travel is not just a love but an essential part of life.

 We asked three members of the Australian Winter Olympic team – snowboarders Scotty James and Alex Pullin, and freeskier Russ Henshaw – what it’s like to follow the winter snow across the globe, and their tips and tricks for staying snow-fit year-round.

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Boardercross Snowboarder

winter olympians australia winter olympics Gearing up for his third Olympics, having previously attended Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010, snowboarder Alex Pullin has been working hard to keep his body in peak condition.

“During the Aussie winter, I train at Mount Hotham in Victoria, and then spend the summer in the northern hemisphere to follow the World Tour events each year,” he says.

 Though he spends a good eight months of the year on the snow, Pullin says it’s important to train off snow too.

 “Getting on top of fitness off the snow gives you real benefit when you get back on the track,” he says. “On the snow, it’s about perfecting technique, whereas off the snow it’s all about structured fitness training. A balance of cardio and skill based activity is good, as it keeps it [training] fun and challenging.”

 While each discipline is unique, Pullin says mental preparation and clarity are the key to not only maintaining your own mental health, but getting the most out of the experience.

“Use reality to learn and shape yourself. Enjoy the process, it’s not all just about the competition days. You are the one driving your career, no one will be able to help you better than you can help yourself.”

Scotty James, Halfpipe Snowboarder

winter olympians australia winter olympics PyeongChang will also be the third Winter Olympics for fellow snowboarder Scotty James, but even he is the first to admit that you never get used to such an event.

“In the last 12 months, I have started to work a lot harder off snow to make sure I am fit, healthy and ready to go to war when the time comes,” he says. “I need to be quite agile, powerful and quick, so gym training usually consists of both explosive and aerobic work.”

For James, the key to preparing yourself for an event like the Winter Olympics is as much about surrounding yourself with the right people as it is training on and off the snow.

“I also do a little bit of mental training to make sure my head is clear, so that when I’m standing at the top of the pipe, I know that I have done everything right.”

“I just want to go in and approach it like I have done every other time with the mindset to just really go for it. It’s exciting and I am looking forward to it.”

Russ Henshaw, Freeskier

Russ Henshawwinter olympians australia winter olympics  is feeling a lot more relaxed about this his second Olympic games, too.

“I’m looking forward to putting it all on the line when I get there and having fun,” he says.

Mixing up his training both on and off the snow, in addition to maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy diet year-round, is vital for helping Henshaw stay snow-fit all year round.

“I spend quite a bit of time in the gym building strength to make sure I’m able to snap off the take offs fast and take the jumps as big as possible,” he says. “I also do a lot of trampolining and cross-training exercises such as skateboarding and road biking.”

Henshaw knows his globe-trotting lifestyle isn’t a typical ‘nine to five’, and admits spending up to eight months a year chasing snow can be quite tiring, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

winter olympians australia winter olympics “The places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, the people I have met and the mountains I have been lucky enough to ride are unforgettable,” he says. “I’ve made life-long friends in all corners of the globe and I wouldn’t swap the lifestyle for anything.”

Though the eyes of the world will soon be on him and the rest of the Australian Olympic team, Henshaw says his main goal is to just have fun and not surrender to the pressure. 

“Usually if I am having fun, my riding is at its best, so that is my main goal,” he says.

“The Olympics are the biggest event we have in our sport, but you need to treat it as if it were just another event and not let any of the outside pressures get to you.”

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang starts on February 25, 2018.

Published 07 December, 2017